Physics tells us that everything in this world vibrates. Sound is vibration that you can hear and music is sound that is organized. When the outside vibrations of music touch the inside vibrations in our bodies, it creates motion in our muscles, breath and nerves and that motion makes us feel e-motion. When we say that something moves us or this piece of music (or art or poetry or dance or sunset, what have you) is moving, we are speaking about what actually happens in our bodies.
If we sing music with a group of people, we are connected vibration to vibration, we are all joined together as one vibrating body. That helps us feel that we, all of us, are worthy to be welcomed, to feel like we belong, to learn that we’re one small part of something larger than just us and that that larger thing is beautiful. My tribe of music teachers often gets hung up in the details of getting the kids ready for the show and forget this larger purpose.
And there’s more. Since vibrations never ask us about our religion or economic class or ethnic identity or gender, we can learn that none of those things should ever be used as barriers to keep us apart. When people try to convince us that these things matter and we should only accept these people and not those, it’s probably because they never felt the beauty of being part of this big vibration. When those people get in positions of power, it is essential to use the usual political means to limit their power to hurt. But the larger healing is to try to give them what they never got or once had but forgotten. Invite them to sing with you. Bring them into the circle of singers and have them hold hands and close their eyes and feel the beauty and power of vibrating bodies and voices singing together. The song doesn’t even matter. Twinkle Little Star will do. Have them close their eyes and put them next to a poor African-American Muslim disabled lesbian woman and help them understand how she and the rich straight white Christian Republican male are united in vibration and could become best friends if only the latter opened their closed hearts and widened their narrow thinking and stopped using their unearned privilege to shut others down or keep them out or insult them or deport them.
And please, let’s all remember ourselves that we will get angry with our friends and carry strange ideas about other people or groups of people and that it’s almost impossible to live every moment in this loving vibration. But that’s the direction we should lean toward. If you had the pleasure of making music with a group of people, remember that beautiful moment shared. When you feel disconnected from yourself or your work or your family or your friends, the vibration of music can connect you again. It’s there for you when you need it.
And we all need it.